Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Winter is Upon Us
As the hours of sunlight diminishes, issues affecting those in fuel poverty rise to the surface. I am tackling the Warm Zone grant system for several local people right now, trying to battle the complicated and unfriendly grant system to help them access funding to install modern, efficient and cost effective heating systems. It seems that everywhere we turn, good ideas turn into nightmarish, bureaucratic systems which are administered in cumbersome and hard-to-access ways.
It is no surprise that people turn to campaigners like myself for help - I am willing to take on the system to try and resolve small issues which make a big difference to individuals. It shouldn't be like that though - those administering Government schemes should be able to make the system easier, not harder.
I visited wind turbines yesterday which recently went up in County Durham, courtesy of the developers Banks. WOW, they are enormous - and these were only 100m - the ones they are proposing near Longhorsley would be a further 27m taller to tip of blade. Now that the development is completed, the site is clean and tidy, but I was shown photos and footage of the development in progress, and it was certainly messy and disruptive.
What I found most odd about them close up was the strange "woooshing" sound and vibration that they created. It was very de-stabilising, as it doesnt seem to fit with any human rhythms. I felt dizzy watching them - I imagine that having that constant motion in view if one lived nearby could be quite destabilising. There were very few properties near this site, which is built on old coal mining sites and one of the pits dug during foot & mouth. So at least they have placed it in a windy place which might be considered "brownfield" in the industrial sense, rather than desecrating virgin countryside.
I'm afraid that although I was impressed with the developers' attitude to their projects, and their commitment to the local wildlife and restoration of lansdcape (for instance at their coal mine at Shotton, near Cramlington), I just did not feel reassured by these giant wind turbines. I have asked for data on the turbines efficiency and actual electricity generation which is taken up by the grid. I fear they are often turning but not pumping power into the system. Will keep you posted.